Man I love the State Farmer's Market!
Fresh fruits and veggies abound. Plenty of flowers to stop and smell. You know just where your produce is coming from. 'Rustic' is the word that comes to mind. In a time where everyone is trying to do more, faster, better, and so on, it is refreshing to take a trip to the farmer's market. Honest farmers doing what they do best -- feeding people; giving everyone from the home cook to the restaurant chef the freshest possible produce to create wonderful and healthy dishes.
Maybe I'm being a little too romantic about the whole notion, but c'mon. The pull of slower life, doing a hard day's work and having something to show for it while surrounded by family, has got to pull ya just a little bit.
Anyway, on this particular trip, the girls and I were just interested to see what all is in season.
We were not disappointed. We found plenty of produce that made our tummys rumble with hunger. :)
The only reason I didn't get more was because I ran out of room in my bag--it sure did get heavy. That and I was having trouble keeping track of the little ones amidst all of the people wandering between vendors.
We managed to pick up some seriously delicious-looking tomatoes for $.99/lb! I was excited by the low price as I've been eagerly awaiting the drop in price. They have been going for $1.49/lb. I know, that may not seem like much, but it is to us.
Also in the bag were some peaches. Now, I'll admit. I was a little hesitant to buy from this particular vendor. While they have THE most delicious apples in the fall, their peaches are a little hit-or-miss. Despite the rotting at the bottom of the bunch I bought, I decided to try 'em again. I'll let ya know...
Have you ever made your own pickles? My maternal grandmother does. I didn't appreciate them as a kid--if it wasn't a dill pickle in the Mt Olive jar, it wasn't a pickle. Now that my palate is ever evolving, I'd give anything to have a jar of her pickles. What's more, I'd like to spend a summer with her again (she lives in Canada) and have her teach me all she knows. Anyway, I digress. Also up for sale are pickling cucumbers. Figuring I can look up how to do it online, I bought a few. I'll definitely post about how that goes.
Peppers. Who would've thought I'd buy peppers from the market. Until I started having "fun" in the kitchen, ground pepper, bell peppers, any kind of hot peppers, anything green, tomatoes, squash,...well, you get the point....were avoided like the plague. But if I'm going to push my kids to try new things, I gotta walk that walk. Besides, with time one comes to appreciate the flavor behind the heat. I'm thinking salsas, guacamole, mmmmm. ::goes to grab a snack::
While checking out the squash--have I mentioned I've become a huge fan of squash? I love adding them to spaghetti sauces for a little crunch. Anyway, I saw ones that were sunflower yellow and mint green. I know I'm new at this, but a ghostly green zucchini squash? Whaaaat? The lady manning the stall didn't know either. haha She had to ask. Turns out, these are Mediterranean Squash. Instantly my mind starts flashing to pasta dishes with feta, olives, olive oil, and these little babies. Did I mention my stomach was rumbling with hunger while looking at all this great produce??
I still have yet to master the best way of cooking eggplant. I do not let this stopping me from purchasing it. And this guy caught my eye--a light purple eggplant. And I couldn't help but be swayed by how well it contrasted with the sunflower yellow squash. :*:*Insert shout out to the East Carolina University Pirates here*:*:
As we wind down this visit to the farmer's market, I am suddenly grabbed by the fresh aroma of basil in the air. I located the stall, manned by a rude lady who needs a lesson in customer service, selling fresh herbs. For $2, I got a huge bunch of fresh basil. Seriously, what can't you add basil to??
It has become a sort of 'tradition' with my girls. We cannot, absolutely canNOT, leave the Farmer's Market without each getting a sunflower. :) Remember how I said plenty of flowers to stop and smell? While most of them are still in plant form, there are vendors who sell bouquets. There is one in particular that sells individual sunflowers to me and my girls for only $1 each. How can I say no? I mean, really. That certainly isn't asking much. And believe you me, these girls are masters at asking for more than they know they can have. ;)
|Kyleigh's still-in-tact sunflower in a vase on the counter.|
|Abby's not still-in-tact flower adorning the fruits and veggies bought.|